That is, they are increasingly becoming part of the basic circuitry of computers or are easily attached adjuncts, as well as standing alone in special devices such as office payroll machines. Many different applications algorithms are now available, and highly advanced systems such as artificial intelligence algorithms may become common in the future. Artificial Intelligence (AI), a term that in its broadest sense would indicate the ability of an artifact to perform the same kinds of functions that characterize human thought.
In medicine, programs have been developed that analyze the disease symptoms, medical history, and laboratory test results of a patient, and then suggest a diagnosis to the physician. The diagnostic program is an example of so_called expert systems_programs designed to perform tasks in specialized areas as a human would. Expert systems take computers a step beyond straightforward programming, being based on a technique called rule_based inference, in which preestablished rule systems are used to process the data. Despite their sophistication, systems still do not approach the complexity of true intelligent thought.